The Rangers look like a young, fast, talented group one minute and a lost mistake ridden bunch the next. It begs the question, what is their true identity?
By Chris Yackel
Will the real Rangers please stand up? It’s a valid question that many fans have likely been asking themselves 33 games into the season. At times this team looks like a young, exciting group that could potentially make the playoffs. At other times that certainly does not look the case when mistakes in their own zone and poor effort kills them. Want a perfect example? Watch the tape on last night’s 3-1 comeback victory over Anaheim.
The Rangers looked rather flat the first two periods of the game. They didn’t have a ton of scoring chances and were not very good at defending in their own zone. A bigger more experienced Anaheim team was having their way with the blueshirts and had a 1-0 lead going into the third. That all changed when the Rangers speed took over with 10:08 remaining in the third period. Vlad Namestinkov received a beautiful pass from Brett Howden to tie the game at one. Later on with 41 seconds remaining Kevin Hayes scored a clutch shorthanded goal to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Filip Chytil would then put the finishing touches on the impressive third period and win with an empty net goal.
That is just one example of the Rangers inconsistent play this season. The Rangers started out a dreadful 3-7-1 their first 11 games. After that the Rangers went on a tear going 9-1-1 their next 11. Then before last night’s victory the Rangers were 2-5-3 in their previous 10. The inconsistency has been frustrating to say the least. This begs the question. Which version of the Rangers is the real one. The group thatstarted 3-7-1 or the group that went 9-1-1. I think the answer to that is somewhat in the middle, if not more towards the 3-7-1 in team.
Listen, I think the Rangers have exceeded expectations the first 33 games. They are young, fast and play a real up-tempo and skilled kind of game. I think that head coach David Quinn has done a phenomenal job early on in his tenure as well. He is holding every player on the roster accountable, is being firm and fair and has a system and philosophyon the ice and off that is built for success. The roster is just like the coach. Young and inexperienced in the NHL. If anything I thought this team would do a lot worse.
Will the Rangers build off this win last night against Anaheim and start a nice run? It’s very possible. However, its also very possible they can have a long bad stretch of hockey after a good run. That’s the sign of young team and one that I expect to have continued growth as the season goes on.